Best Places to Eat in the Dandenongs
Whether you’re after fine dining or a casual bite to eat, the Dandenongs has something to suit all tastes. Some are hidden down quaint streets or have spectacular views of the mountains and valleys.
The villages of Mount Dandenong and Sassafras are popular day-trip destinations, offering stunning natural attractions and cosy cafes for a relaxing bite to eat.
SkyHigh Mount Dandenong
Situated in the cool fern gullies and towering forests of Dandenong Ranges, SkyHigh Mount Dandenong is an iconic tourist attraction with stunning views of Melbourne. On a clear day, you can enjoy panoramic views over the city’s rooftops and beyond to the You Yangs.
Atop the mountain, you’ll find a terraced viewing platform that offers stunning views of the surrounding Dandenong Ranges and surrounds. Whether you’re looking to relax or get active, this is a must-see experience in the Dandenong Ranges for any visitor to Victoria.
The park also boasts a range of activities that appeal to all ages and fitness levels. Among the most popular Dandenong Ranges hikes is a 2.4-kilometer trail that leads to Sherbrooke Falls, a beautiful waterfall nestled among towering mountain ash and stringy-bark eucalyptus trees. You can also hike to La La Falls, a moderate 3.2-kilometer round-trip hike that passes through lush forest.
During the warmer months, take a break from your adventure by exploring the lush gardens at SkyHigh. Featuring the English Garden, a relaxing garden with winding paths, and the hedge maze where young children have to collect four passport stamps in order to escape, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re in the mood for some culture, take a trip to Burrinja, a vibrant community cultural centre set within the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. It showcases galleries, art activities, workshops and a 400-seat theatre.
This cultural center is a must-visit for tourists who want to spend some time exploring art, history and nature. The centre is free to enter and open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
A renowned artist, William Ricketts created this sanctuary in the 1930s as a place to reflect on the relationship between mankind and mother nature. His works reflect Aboriginal philosophies, which emphasize the importance of respecting nature and engaging with it. The sanctuary’s sculptural collection of over 90 pieces celebrates this connection, and its surroundings blend with the natural environment to create an intimate and serene atmosphere.
After enjoying the view, head inside and treat yourself to a traditional high tea, a time-honoured British tradition consisting of hot scones topped with clotted cream and raspberry jam, finger sandwiches, and petite treats. Pair it with a cup of fine-quality tea, and you’re set for a memorable afternoon in the dandenongs.
One of the best places to eat in the Dandenongs is at Destiny Point, a quaint and charming cafe that offers delicious cuisine, excellent service, and a fantastic view. This eatery is a must-visit for travelers looking for a delicious meal with breathtaking views of the mountains and the Silvan Reservoir.
This 4.5 star establishment is located at 1284 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road in Kalorama. It has a full bar and a large dining area where you can sit back and enjoy a delicious meal while soaking in the scenic views.
The menu features several options ranging from the savoury to the sweet. You can also choose from a variety of beverages including beer, wine, and cocktails.
Another cool feature is the treetop escape, a glasshouse that will take your breath away. It has a modern bathroom and fern-filled walks, allowing you to unwind in style.
You will also find free Wi-Fi and a fitness center to help you burn off vacation calories. This is the place to be when you want to relax and recharge after a long day of exploring.
This quaint and charming cafe is a must-visit for travelers searching for a delicious meal with breathtaking views of these enchanting mountains and the Silvan Reservoir. The menu features several options ranging from the spicy to the sweet. You can also choose from an array of beverages including beer, wine, and cocktails.
The treetop escape, a glasshouse that is one of the many cool features at Destiny Point. It has a modern bathroom and a fern-filled walks, allowing you or your loved ones to unwind in style. It is also a great spot to watch the sun go down.
Elevation @ Emerald
If you’re looking for a restaurant with stunning views of the Dandenong Ranges, Elevation @ Emerald is a great choice. This two-level eatery has a contemporary design and a menu that will delight your taste buds. They serve a variety of dishes, including steaks, pasta and pizzas.
The food at Elevation is fresh and healthy, and it caters well for those who have dietary restrictions. The staff can also help you create a custom menu. The chefs have a great understanding of the needs of people with dietary restrictions, and they work hard to provide you with meals that are delicious and satisfying.
This is a great place to go for lunch and dinner, especially if you are visiting the Dandenong Ranges for a day trip. The restaurant has an upscale bistro feel, and it’s also known for its friendly service. They have a variety of gluten free options on their menu, and they can also accommodate vegans.
While there, you can also visit the Emerald Market to shop for locally grown produce. The market is held every third Sunday of the month, and there’s a wide range of products available.
If you’re planning to go hiking, there are many trails that you can take. One of the most popular is the Emerald Lake Trail, which starts at Bear Lake and ends at Emerald Lake. The hike is a short one, and it is relatively easy to navigate.
It takes 3.5 miles roundtrip to reach Emerald Lake, and the elevation gain is 650 feet. It is a beautiful walk and it’s worth going on a clear day to see the views of Hallett Peak, which towers at 12,713 feet.
The hike is also a great way to get in some exercise. You can hike this trail with or without a backpack, and it’s a perfect route for beginner hikers. It’s also a great route for families with children because it is quite scenic and easy to hike.
While there, you can also try out a couple of different fishing lakes. Emerald Lake is a high-elevation lake that’s home to a couple species of fish, including rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. It isn’t stocked regularly, so you may want to sign up for a next-day email alert if you plan on fishing there.
Emerald Village Bakery & Cafe
If you’re a local or visiting the Dandenong Ranges, Emerald Village Bakery & Cafe is a must see. This large scale bakery specializes in savoury and sweet confections that are worthy of a visit. The menu is extensive and includes everything from hot and cold eats to take away options.
The staff are friendly and helpful, making this a great place to stop off for lunch or a pit stop on the way out of town. It also has a quaint little garden with an assortment of fruit trees and shrubs.
This establishment is not a dedicated gluten free establishment so you might want to keep an eye out for cross contamination, and be sure to ask about the ingredients before ordering your meal. It’s not a bad idea to make a reservation in advance to ensure you get the table of your dreams, especially during peak times.
Alternatively, you can hop on one of the numerous trains that ply the Melbourne metro area and make your way to this destination in style. A good option for families is to check out the free bus service that connects Emerald with Belgrave and Cockatoo. This will cut down on travel time and you’ll avoid paying for parking.